Linkin Park is always looking for innovative ways to deliver visuals to fans, whether through apps, online gaming, or Facebook Kinect video. The musicians -- who are also avid gamers -- met software developers Team Dakota at E3 and learned about Project Spark, a game-maker video game (for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows 8). Linkin Park saw the potential for a unique collaboration, and the result is the first fully interactive, remixable music video within a video game for the band's latest single, "Guilty All the Same."
Now the band is inviting fans to put their own spin on the track and video using Project Spark software. Winning entries will be showcased at E3 2014, just before the band's new album, "The Hunting Party," drops on June 17. On August 8, Linkin Park hits the road for the Carnivores tour with Thirty Seconds to Mars and AFI.
What inspired this Team Dakota collaboration, otherwise known as #LinkinSpark?
Joe Hahn: We were at E3 last year and went to check out the new Xbox and got to know a bunch of guys, including the Spark team. The idea of creating a creation tool through a video game engine was amazing to me. My mind just went to the future and thought of all the possibilities of what you can do with it. On the spot I asked, "Would you guys wanna do a music video through this?" The Spark team was into it. They saw the challenge, took it, and had a lot of fun with it.
I had peppered ideas, but I really wanted them to create it, because the whole spirit of the game is for the user to be in control. The thing you'll see with the current demo is that it shows us cracking the demo of what they came up with, and we're really excited to see what the world can do with it.
Why is this particular single appropriate for this project?
Mike Shinoda: I think the format of telling the fan, "This is the video that goes with our song" is in some cases appropriate, but in some cases very limiting. If I think of lyrics, I can put visuals to it; but the other component is what it means to you, how you listen to it, and who you listen to it with. So much of that is out of our control, so we're not trying to work against that. We're trying to work with that. This is just another extension of that.
With this song, it's the first look into our new record. It's a heavy song, and it's really loud. Rock radio and alternative radio have moved away from this kind of thing. We're doing it, though, even though it's probably a bad idea from a commercial standpoint. And we're not apologetic about it. There's room for all different things. I don't dislike the stuff that's on the radio, but i think this is the type of music that I've been waiting for and nobody else is making. It's great to complement that with technology and ideas that are as forward-thinking as this is.
Check out Linkin Park's collaboration with Project Spark for "Guilty All the Same" (featuring Rakim):
What can you tell us about the new album?
Mike Shinoda: I started making demos as soon as we finished the last album, and at a certain point, I listened to them and realized they sound very current. But I wasn't as inspired by them as I could be, because they sounded like what's going on out there in rock and indie and alternative. I love bands like Haim, Vampire Weekend, Chvrches, and Purity Ring, and the demos sounded like they were going in that direction. I like listening to those groups making that music, but not necessarily us. So I threw it all in a folder and put it away and started fresh. We talked to the guys in the band and talked about what music we could be making that other bands can't. I think that this song is the DNA of the record, which gives a good intro of what the record will sound like. It sits in the middle, not the perimeter.
Your new tour is called the Carnivores tour. Why that title?
Mike Shinoda: A lot of rock and pop music today are very passive and jingly. It sounds like stuff you hear on Nick Jr. and Disney Channel. And if I'm 16, do I want to listen to Nick Jr. rock or something that's going to be pushing it? So that carnivorous attitude just became a theme that we kept coming back to.
On the Carnivores tour, you're going to be touring with Jared Leto's band Thirty Seconds to Mars. Since Leto is now an Oscar winner, are you nervous about any diva behavior on his part?
Joe Hahn: We're all big fans of "My So-Called Life" and Claire Danes, and we're also big fans of the show "Homeland," so we figured that maybe if we get close to Jared, there might be a chance to get a little bit closer to Claire. [Laughs]
No, I think Jared is a super passionate guy. When the band started, I was a little bit skeptical about the actor trying to do a band. But over time, I thought these guys are pretty good, and we've played shows with them. Those guys work their asses off. In the headlines, it might help that the singer is an actor, but they make great music and have great charisma, and they're still around, which you can't say about a lot of bands. So we're looking forward to touring with them and hopefully getting some synergy going and coming up with new ideas as well.
Which mobile apps are you super passionate about?
Mike Shinoda: I really like Monstermatic, where you can make monsters in 3D. I think Forger does the same thing. Musaic for music -- it's Instagram for music. Snapseed for photos. I use Control4 MyHome with Spotify, Beats, Pandora, and Slacker, because I'm always looking for new music. We got involved with Chideo, and I love the idea of making videos for charity.
Joe Hahn: There's an app called The Wonder Weeks, which helps guide you through the process of your baby growing, where you enter your child's name and date of birth, and it tells you what's going on with your child. Cool, huh? Waze is pretty cool, although it took me on a bad detour the other day. Samurai Siege is a cool game. Traktor DJ is pretty cool. I have a Canon EOS 5D, and there's an app called EOS Remote, where you can control the camera through your phone. I like the concept of it, but when I downloaded it, I realized that it only works for the 7D, which sucks balls. There's an app called Poker Income Ultimate, so when I play poker, I map my wins and losses and gauge how I play that day and keep a log of my losings. There's another one called Negotiate It, and it walks you through how to negotiate bills, etc.
To enter your remix of "Guilty All the Same":
- Include [LP] in your level name for inclusion in the special LinkinSpark feed.
- Use the hashtag #linkinspark on social media to let the world know what you've created.
- Create a video of your remix for inclusion on the Linkin Spark Upload channel and the Project Spark YouTube channel.
Get started by downloading the Project Spark app.